CRYSTAL Palace manager Dougie Freedman praised his players’ determination and willingness to take on board what they had been told before tonight’s 1-0 win at Charlton.
The Eagles enjoyed the better chances in a scoreless first half but were fortunate to go in level at the break after Bradley Wright-Phillips’ header was wrongly ruled out for offside.
But the game was settled six minutes after the restart by Kagisho Dikgacoi’s stunning strike to ensure Freedman’s side made the short trip back to SE25 with all three points and their first away success of the season.
The Selhurst chief said: “I’m delighted with the attitude of the lads going into the game.
“It was a very hostile crowd and let’s not kid ourselves here, Charlton have got a lot of momentum with them from last year’s promotion.
“I’m so pleased for the lads to take on board what the coaches were trying to tell them and approach it in the right way.
“I thought in the first half we were excellent – we pressured in the right areas, we showed bursts of pressure in taking the ball off them and attacking with a certain intent and a purpose that created three or four opportunities.
“On another day with more confidence I’m sure we would have taken them.
“In the second half I felt rightly so Charlton put a lot of balls in our box, but that’s what you get defenders in your squad for because I thought we defended resiliently and I felt that on the break we could have maybe been a better with that bit of confidence.
“But all in all I’m very happy with the result but I’m more pleased with the performance.”
Freedman explained before the game he wanted to silence the Charlton crowd early on and his tactic paid off with the home fans becoming increasingly disgruntled with some poor first half clearances.
The Palace boss added: “That was exactly the game plan, that’s what I’m so happy about the players taking on board.
“I felt we pressed in the right areas and we showed a good intent to attack.
“We were very expansive, we had two high wingers.
“I felt even the substitutes we made were very positive bringing a couple of attacking players on because I always felt in the second half although we are under a bit of pressure, a breakaway goal was probably needed to win the game but I was wrong.”
Charlton had chances to equalise after the introduction of Ricardo Fuller and almost rescued a point in added time when keeper Ben Hamer came up for a corner and was only denied a certain equaliser by Owen Garvan’s goal-line clearance.
Freedman said: “We have rode our luck a bit with the goalkeeper’s header – it’s actually too good a header if you want to call it that.
“He has obviously been practicing that!
“But these things weigh themselves up.
“Two or three weeks ago that would have probably hit the back of the net against us but we are defending, we are getting more confident.
“It has taken maybe a little bit longer than I thought to get the team to gel together but I’ve got a lot of new players in and obviously they are starting to gel together now.”
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